Byrd and Noceti Post
Feature Wins, Linstroth Captures Grand American Modified Championship at
Stockton 99 Speedway
September 9, 2006
by Dale J Bosowski
Western Late Models
Starting from the outside of the front row of Saturday’s Havoline Western Late Model feature at Stockton 99 Speedway, Pacific Grove’s Dave Byrd flew into the lead heading into turn one of the opening lap. He would never relinquish the top spot for the remainder of the 50-lap race as he cruised to his second win of the season and 48th of his long and distinguished career at the speedway.
It was a very special moment for Byrd as he soaked in the cheers from the crowd of better than 2,700 on the front straightaway after the race.
“We haven’t had a win since the start of the year and we have really struggled. Tonight we hit the setup just right,” said Byrd, who also has nine victories at Altamont Motorsports Park this year. “This was huge. Tonight for the first time that it is really starting to hit me that the track will be going away.”
While Byrd had a relatively easy time of it out in front the three drivers remaining in the hunt for the 2006 track championship – Manteca’s Guy Guibor and Stockton drivers Ron Strmiska Jr. and Pete Anderson Jr. – continuously jostled behind him for position with one another throughout the race.
Strmiska would eventually get the best of that fight, earning second place along with some new black rubber pin stripping, as he followed Byrd across the finish line just ahead of Anderson and Guibor.
“Typical 99 racing. Everybody was just out there trying to win,” said Anderson with a shrug after the race. “I can’t blame anybody for anything. I was doing the same thing.”
Guibor, #61, entered the night with just a 31-point lead over Strmiska and a 32-point edge on Anderson. Their 2-3-4 result insured that the 2006 track championship would not be decided until the conclusion of next Saturday’s “double points” finale.
“ I would rather win, but that was good enough tonight,” said Guibor. We were a little off and we gave it everything we had.”
#90, Strmiska remained cautiously optimistic as he assessed his championship chances.
“With double points and it being the last race there should be a big car count next week anything can happen,” said Strmiska, looking forward to next Saturday. “I don’t wish bad luck on anyone, but if we have a good night and they have some problems we will have a shot at it.”
Grand American Modified
The final Grand American Modified (GAM) race of the season saw #6, Tony Noceti, of French Camp, pick up the first victory of his career while #10, Jay Linstroth, of Citrus Heights, captured the 2006 season championship.
Noceti, who set fast time for the night in qualifying, grabbed the lead in the 50-lap GAM feature on lap 12. He would stay out in front the rest of the way, enduring several restarts and a late race challenge by Ripon’s Mike Regelman.
“I am so happy to win this thing. I have been trying to do this for five years,” said an emotional Linstroth. “I was having problems turning the car, but it pulled me through and I did what I had to do tonight. This feels good.”
Pro 4 Trucks
Starting from outside of row three, it took just seven laps for Lathrop’s Mark Henslee to rocket into the lead in the Pro-4 Truck 30-lap season finale after which point he said “see you later” to the rest of the field as he powered to his ninth win of the season over Oakdale’s Nathan McNeil and Hayward’s Walt Bruegger.
Following the race Henslee turned in the best doughnut exhibition so far of the 2006 season as he celebrated his second consecutive Pro-4 Truck track championship at Stockton.
“I wanted to put on a special show for the fans tonight,” explained Henslee as the tire smoke cleared. “It has been a great year and I owe everything to my crew and my wife. Driving the truck is the easy part.”
Henslee’s performance has been absolutely dominant all season long. Earlier in the evening he set fast time in qualifying and captured the dash to rack up an amazing fifth straight sweep in a row and seventh overall for the season.
It was déjà vu all over again as Stockton drivers Pete Anderson Sr. and Chad ‘the Iceman’ Holman reprised their epic side-by-side battle from the previous week in another thrill packed American Limited Stock Car feature. After the two traded the top spot back and fourth, Anderson was finally able to gain the advantage for good off of a late race restart as he picked up his third straight victory and fourth overall on the season.
“We are just out here this year having fun and it was fun tonight,’ said Anderson. “Chad (Holman) did a great job, but I was able to get a little better start that last time to get in front and then shut the door.”
Although Holman was once again frustrated in his quest for his fifth win of the year, it was never the less a very successful evening for him as Escalon’s Darrell Hughes, the closest pursuer to Holman for the season championship, dropped out of the 20-car race in the early going. As a result, Holman needs only to take the green flag to start next Saturday’s ALSC finale to capture the 2006 season title.
“It’s a little frustrating to finish second again, but I think we pretty much wrapped up the championship so I can’t complain about that,” said Holman. “I can just go for the win next week and not have to worry about being careful.”
The final countdown is now down to ONE! Following next Saturday’s very special final program the books will be closed for good on 60 years of racing history and excitement at the fabled Stockton 99 Speedway.
The special Saturday, September 16th, NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series program will determine the 2006 track champions for the Havoline Western Late Models in round #10 of the HOTWOOD 1000 Series, presented by J.M. Environmental and the American Limited Stock Car division, presented by Bryant Petroleum. In addition, the SRL Wild West Shootout Late Model Series will make its one and only appearance of the year, the gals will go at it in the annual Power Puff race and the evening will conclude with the annual school bus race and demolition derby. Following the last race the lights will be turned off for a giant FIREWORKS extravaganza.
The Stockton 99 Speedway is located just off Highway 99 at 4105 North Wilson Way. If you are traveling south on Highway 99 take the Wilson Way exit. If you are heading north on Highway 99 take the Cherokee Road exit, loop over the freeway, turn right onto Newton Road and then turn left on Wilson Way.For Stockton 99 Speedway information call the 99 Race Line at (209) 466-9999 or go to www.stockton99speedway.com on the web.